New Hafer in the house


Photo by Christina Schantz

Jack Hafer, the new film chair for the Cinema and Media Arts department, is enjoying his first year at Biola thus far.

Written by John Hudson

Among the prestigious talent welcomed into the faculty welcomed at this year’s Fall Convocation is Biola’s new film chair, Jack Hafer. A member of the Producer’s Guild of America, he has left his mark on the movie industry and now plans to share his insights and challenge the faith of Hollywood’s future filmmakers.

Born in Kansas, Hafer grew up in an environment where film wasn’t accepted as a Christian means of expression. In college, he majored in humanities to fulfill his deep affection for literature, philosophy and the arts. It wasn't until later in life that he began to integrate his Christianity into his career.

In 1987, Hafer moved away from the record industry he had started in and began working full-time in the film business. By 1999, he had broken into Hollywood and opened his own production company, Boulevard Pictures. In 2001, his award-winning film “To End All Wars” secured his company’s success and opened up a world of possible film projects.

“I saw that my love for the arts could finally make sense with my faith,” he said.

Hafer’s dream for his own production and distribution companies was underway.

Then, after almost 10 years as a producer, he received a phone call from Biola University, offering him the position of film chair for their Cinema and Media Arts department. After so many steps toward being able to distribute films that would positively affect the world, the offer almost felt like a step back. But after a series of phone calls and meetings, Hafer discovered this was a new type of opportunity.

“Now, it just makes perfect sense because, not only can I keep working on the other goals, but now I get to have influence in the lives of a whole bunch of young filmmakers," said Hafer. "I feel certain it was a gift from God.”

As film chair, Hafer is in a position to set his vision into motion on Biola’s campus. Among his goals for the CMA program is a focus on festival-quality films and on making a festival impact.

“That will launch a student’s career more than anything,” he pointed out. Hafer also wants to see more films with student worldviews embedded in them, without making them Christian films.

Further, he stresses the importance of daily living out the Christian faith, on and off the set.

“[God] wants us to take on a vision that’s so large that it’s going to fail if He’s not in it…It is so hard to get hired in Hollywood; it is so hard to get your films made in Hollywood. It is an impossible task, so we really have to be approaching it very seriously with our faith. Understanding what it means to be Christian in this business is really important to me.”

Hafer is excited to join the department’s faculty force.

“I’ve really been warmly accepted and encouraged to go for it with my own thoughts and dreams.”

And his ideas are just what is needed to launch Biola film program to the next level. As Jack Hafer gets to know the student body, their skills and their passions, and continues to follow God’s leading on his life, these dreams are bound to change Biola for the better.

Biola film is breaking new territory in this university’s second century. The next generation of filmmakers have arrived, eager to leave their own marks on the film industry, and Jack Hafer is the man with the vision to lead them into a promising future.

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